Regardless of excellent objectives, lots of people do not get major about completing their estate planning and estate files until late in life. Even when they do, they focus on which individuals will acquire the concrete assets– such as homes, land, cash, fashion jewelry, stock and other financial investments.
However, less attention is put on the intangible possessions– such as works of authorship, creations, brand names and trade tricks. Lots of people might think that they do not have intangible possessions, nevertheless, in today’s world, many people regularly use social media and internet tools– allowing them to compose and comment by means of different platforms daily. As a part of the estate planning process, one need to determine their intellectual property.
Intangible possessions arise from the creative power of the human mind. Functions of authorship, developments, brands, and trade tricks are all produced using our intelligence and imagination. While not everyone can be a popular author, vocalist, artist or developer, one may still own some copyright rights.
As an example, copyright law supplies defense for works of authorship. Some individuals are authors of short articles, books, sheet music, and site content. Others are developers of software application code for various products, while others develop paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and sound recordings. For a specific author, these copyrights last for the life of the author plus seventy years. Plainly, the next generation will have rights that might be important if managed appropriately.
Several years ago, my clients who have actually composed lots of books participated in a long term license agreement for use of these copyrights in exchange for certain royalty payments. The licensee was also licensed to make derivative works– implying works that are based upon these pre-existing books. This license contract may continue after the life of the authors– supplying an annual royalty earnings stream to the heirs.
Many individuals use social media tools every day. Choices should be made about what occurs to all of that content upon one’s death. To comprehend the appropriate rights, one has to review the regards to service for the appropriate social media platform. Whether the content that a person has composed has worth or not, one need to choose if the social networks account must stay open or be closed following death. As an example, Facebook u00ae enables either the closing of the account or the conversion of the account into one for memorialization following death.
It is necessary to differentiate in one’s will in between tangible personal property and copyright, and particularly designate to whom one wishes to leave the latter. Copyright rights have special requirements for keeping such rights, and they position special business problems to commercially exploit these rights. As an example, under certain circumstances, copyright law permits for one to terminate a copyright transfer that was made 35 years prior. It in some cases makes sense to designate a specialized administrator for these possessions and rights.
One should consider transfers at death that are made by means of living trusts, which avoid probate. They also permit management of intangible assets if and when one may be disabled. In addition, one can transfer ownership of their intellectual property to legal entities such as corporations and restricted liability business, for ease and continuity of management and to assist in the transfer.
Looking at another form of intellectual property, trade tricks offer protection for info that one keeps trick. Trade secrets consist of the formula for Coca-Cola u00ae and the dish for KFC u00ae chicken. There is no doubt that this formula and dish are quite important. Nevertheless, even an owner of a local area restaurant may have a trade secret in the form of a dish for special bbq sauce or unique pizza sauce, or a dish for a European dessert. Trade tricks last forever so long as they are kept secret.
Patent law provides protection for developments. The next generation could acquire the special rights to exclude others from making and offering product or services under the development. Patent rights last for twenty years for the utility and plant patent. Maintenance fees are due occasionally so that the patent rights are not cancelled and lost. If one’s successors will not straight use the patented rights, then a patent license to 3rd parties in exchange for a royalty may be appropriate.
In conclusion, as part of the estate planning process, a list of all intangible possessions and intellectual property rights should be established. One should decide how to transfer those possessions and rights upon death, and whether to move such assets into a legal entity well before death. The next generation must comprehend one’s dreams and be well notified about how to maintain and commercially make use of these possessions. The services of an intellectual property attorney should be maintained to help in the efforts of the estate planning attorney and the financial advisor.